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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Oct;38(4):932-8.

Metoprolol controlled release/extended release in patients with severe heart failure: analysis of the experience in the MERIT-HF study.

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  • 1Henry Ford Heart and Vascular Institute, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan 48202-2689, USA. SGOLDST1@HFHS.ORG



This study analyzed the effect of the beta(1)-selective beta-blocker metoprolol succinate controlled release/extended release (CR/XL) once daily on mortality, hospitalizations and tolerability in patients with severe heart failure.


There continues to be resistance to the incorporation of beta-blockers into clinical care, largely due to concerns about their benefit in patients with more severe heart failure.


SA subgroup of patients from Metoprolol CR/XL Randomized Intervention Trial in chronic Heart Failure (MERIT-HF) in New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class III/IV with left ventricular ejection fraction < 0.25 were identified (n = 795). The analysis was by intention-to-treat.


The mean ejection fraction at baseline was 0.19, and the yearly placebo mortality during follow-up was 19.1%. Treatment with metoprolol CR/XL compared to placebo resulted in significant reductions in all predefined mortality end points including: total mortality, 45 versus 72 deaths (risk reduction 39%; 95% confidence interval 11% to 58%; p = 0.0086); sudden death, 22 vs. 39 deaths (45% [7% to 67%]; p = 0.024); and death due to worsening heart failure, 13 vs. 28 deaths (55% [13% to 77%]; p = 0.015). Metoprolol CR/XL also reduced the number of hospitalizations for worsening heart failure by 45% compared with placebo (p < 0.0001). The NYHA functional class improved in the metoprolol CR/XL group compared with placebo (p = 0.0031). Metoprolol CR/XL was well tolerated, with 31% fewer patients withdrawn from study medicine (all causes) compared with placebo (p = 0.027).


This subgroup analysis of the MERIT-HF study shows that patients with severe heart failure receive a similar mortality benefit and a similar reduction in hospitalizations for worsening heart failure with metoprolol CR/XL treatment as those patients included in the total study.

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